By Maria Jimenez, Vice President, Global Competitive Strategies, Oracle
With the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting supply chains across the globe, alongside on-going trade tensions, order management and orchestration are seeing renewed focus as crucial components of both a company’s fulfillment operations as well as a successful customer experience. And not just by retailers.
Across industries, supply chain management (SCM) investments continue and are likely to pick-up in the aftermath of the pandemic. Supported by strong business cases, order management is a hot category.
Many companies are learning the importance of order management the hard way. Too many are still failing to keep up with and adapt to ever-changing demand. An inflexible or outdated order management system will always result in lost business and missed opportunities. Companies have no option but to adopt a modern system as the starting point to ensure the right products and services get into the hands of the right customers quickly, accurately, and efficiently.
The world continues to change, and so does the customer–faster now than in the previous decades. Customer service expectations keep rising, as consumers want access to product and availability information, seamless customer service, multiple delivery and return options. This has been highlighted by the almost universal growth in eCommerce during the pandemic, which challenged traditional brick-and-mortar stores more than ever. This is true for both business to consumer (B2C) and business to business (B2B), as customers are making use of an ever-wider variety of channels to secure the products and services they need.
Despite supply chain disruptions – or because of them, it is now a matter of survival for most businesses. Customers don’t hesitate to leave their loyalty behind and jump from one company to another if they experience poor customer service. There is simply no room for companies unwilling to adapt their order management systems to meet the pressing needs of their customers.
These changes in customer expectations bring new and accelerated challenges to supply chains. These challenges go right across the business, with a direct impact on profitability. Everything from new transportation demands and the rapid prioritization of customer orders driven by service level agreements, to multi-site inventory optimization and dramatic volume shifts.
The reward for companies that adapt their systems and move to the cloud, however, is not just rapidly improved business outcomes but also the significant IT operational savings that come from moving away from a collection of often highly customized on-premises tools.
As the first step in the order-to-cash process, and part of the comprehensive SCM solution, companies need to adopt an order management system that can take demand from every channel, and then price, configure and orchestrate complex fulfillment across the entire supply chain. This is not an easy task for companies often overwhelmed by conflicting recommendations from multiple technology providers.
Order management solution providers often come from very different perspectives, making the market very fragmented. The providers range from very narrowly focused stand-alone specialists to every ERP, CX, WMS, TMS, or EAM vendor seeming to offer at least one type of order management module. Adding to the complexity is that some providers claim strong industry flavors and other providers cover only specific countries or regions. The result is that there are very few complete true multi-channel solutions with solid distributed order orchestration capabilities, and even fewer solutions that can claim to be applicable for both B2B and B2C.
To some extent, the market suffers from its history. When surveyed about order management vendors offering multi-channel international capabilities, many companies still look to offerings from the traditional on-premise players such as IBM and Manhattan Associates. These solutions hark back to an era when retail was the focus, and the channels those retailers used were far simpler than today, and require consulting services even when the solutions were offered as hosted services. Modern omnichannel requires agility. Those legacy solutions that were not designed for today’s environment can be found wanting.
Oracle Cloud Order Management, by contrast, has modern operational ability at its core. It enables you to serve the needs of your market segments and achieve greater order profitability. With Oracle, you can unify your customer-facing processes, meet customer requests, optimize order fulfillment, and improve fulfillment efficiency – all with one complete, end-to-end solution. Ultimately, Oracle Order Management allows you to increase revenue and margin, ensure greater customer satisfaction, and decrease fulfillment errors, by streamlining the entire order-to-cash process.